Like all entities in the universe, the human body is in constant change. Even the tiniest microscopic subatomic particles throughout the whole cosmos, of which the body is composed, are on the move. Without change there is no life. Life itself is constant change, governed by time and space. To cover the space or span of life requires time. The shorter the time to cover the space (faster wear and tear) the shorter the life span. If you walk fast, you will reach the destination in a shorter time.

Daily stress, causing imbalance in the normal flow, accelerates the mutation and deterioration in the body cells, resulting in a short life span. Slowing down the rate or speed of mutation in the body cells prolongs the life span. Numerous factors including environmental conditions, atmosphere and the immediate surroundings significantly influence our physical and mental health. According to Ayurveda (the Science of Life), excessive use, inadequate use and improper use of food (intakes,) physical activities, mental activities or behavior are the causes of all diseases. These are merely interruptions and malfunctions in the smooth flow of life, and sometimes in their advanced states, some of them become so-called terminal diseases. Keeping or bringing all the above mentioned three factors in balance will maintain sound physical and mental health for a long, healthier life span. I have subsisted on a primarily liquid diet of vegetable and fruit juices throughout my life. I only take solid food on rare occasions.

Owing to the constant change or mutation, the body, throughout its life, goes through various phases leading to the final change or phase, so-called death. But the death is not the end. It is just a transition to the next state, phase or form called rebirth. So the endless cycle of birth and rebirth continues as the law of the universe. It keeps changing its forms like every atom or particle in the universe. Disease is just another created change in the body.

Meditation, prayers, unconditional love, compassion, charity, music serene and quiet atmosphere have calming and relaxing effects on the human mind and body. Their tranquilizing effects slow down the wear and tear of the body cells, thus contributing to prolonging the life span. Meditation is the single most powerful practice to improve quantity and quality of human life.

Change requires time, but during the meditation time stops. It doesn’t exist. Time and space go together, therefore space also ceases to exist. So in meditation, time and space don’t exist. Thus it creates a state of suspension. Body and mind in this state are totally relaxed and dissolve their entity. Thoughts stop. This is an altered state in which the respiration and heartbeat slow down, thus body and mind are at total rest. There is less feeling and a feeling of weightlessness, throbbing and numbness of the finger tips and the experience of total detachment from body, mind and the surroundings. Only the awareness, the pure state of Being remains. During this state, mutation comes to an almost complete halt giving way to the restoration and rejuvenation of the body cells, triggering the retardation of aging process. Meditation also influences the endocrine system in the body. It regulates and harmonizes the hormonal flow, thus retarding and reversing the aging process by interrupting the mutation of the body cells. This helps extending the life span over 100 years.

Productive actions, creative thoughts, intelligence and wisdom contribute to the quality of a long life span. Wisdom is the result of intelligence and practical experience in life. Therefore, the longer the life span, the greater the wisdom, which is beneficial, if shared with others, for the serving of humanity. Among all other forms of life, human life has a unique purpose of being, and that is to serve others. Service to humanity is the ultimate purpose of life. However, if one decides to accomplish this purpose in a shorter period, then one doesn’t have to have a life span of a hundred years and can leave the body at will.

For those advancing in years, I wish to share with you a well-known poem I found that I have had since 1986: “O! Adorable Lord of Mercy, Love and Compassion. Thou knowest better than I that I am growing older and older, and will someday be really very, very old. O Lord, keep me from being talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every occasion. O, Lord release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details, give me wings to get to the point. I ask for Grace enough to listen to the tales of other’s pains. Help me to endure them with patience; but, seal my lips on my own aches and pains. O Lord they are increasing in leaps and bounds and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter and sweeter as the years go by. O! Immaculate One, teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally, nay, often, it is possible that I may be mistaken or blundered. Keep me sweet, friendly and loveable. I do not want to be a saint–some of them, nay most of them, are so hard to live with. But, a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the Devil. Make me thoughtful, O Lord, but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it is a pity, not to use them at all. But Thou knowest indeed, O Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.”

HIS HOLINESS SRI SWAMI BUAJI MAHARAJ, estimated 109, is founder of the Indo-American Yoga-Vedanta Society, New York. He teaches daily yoga classes, is active in missions to South America and at this time is teaching in Brazil for three months. Swami has never advertised himself in any publication or ever levied any fee for any yoga class, eating only what is offered, fasting if nothing comes. He has been chosen for the Hindu Renaissance Award of 1998.